After months of speculation, today we can confirm that Sir Robert Pattinson will be taking on the role of Batman in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie. We spoke with Warner Bros. about the decision and what it means for the future of the Dark Knight franchise.

The Growing Controversy

Warner Bros. had previously tried to play down the controversy surrounding Pattinson’s casting, noting that the actor had already proven his commitment to playing Batman by putting in the legwork and appearing in multiple promotional photos for the film. They also pointed out that the character was originally designed for British actor Michael Keaton and had since been played by several other actors, including Val Kilmer and George Clooney. But now that Sir Robert has been officially cast, the controversy surrounding his casting can no longer be denied. The backlash surrounding Pattinson’s casting has been severe, with many fans petitioning for his replacement or boycotting the movie altogether.

And it’s not just fans who’ve expressed concern about the casting decision. Actor and producer Charlie Hawes, when asked about the decision on Twitter, called it ‘an absolute travesty’ and urged fans to ‘boycott this movie.’ One of the film’s writer/directors, Ben Affleck, also weighed in, saying, ‘My thoughts are with Michael [Keaton] and the fans. This is a huge disappointment.’ The criticism continues to pour in, though as of yet, there isn’t much the movie’s makers can do to stem the tide. They may have already cast Sir Robert, but his role as Batman won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Why Pattinson?

There are a variety of reasons why Warner Bros. chose to go with Sir Robert as their man in tights. Not only is he arguably one of the most popular actors of the moment, but he also shares many similarities with the character he’ll be playing. Both are renowned for their eccentricities, intelligence, and quirkiness. Most importantly, he is dedicated to the cause – he has already put in the legwork and has the right attire to portray the Caped Crusader.

With so much speculation swirling around, let’s take a step back and examine how Sir Robert’s casting affects the future of the Dark Knight franchise.

The ‘Batman vs. Superman’ Movie

With Batman vs. Superman, fans will finally get to see the two superheroes go head to head. The highly-anticipated film, which also stars Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane, is currently in post-production and is set for release on June 14, 2016.

But even before the movie comes out, fans can already get ready for the big fight by purchasing a plethora of Batman vs. Superman merchandise. From T-shirts to hoodies and even cake stands, the fans have jumped on the hype train and are ready to defend their favorite superhero. The film’s director, Zack Snyder, also took the time to chat with ComicBook about the marketing push for Batman vs. Superman, revealing that his team is already working on the next phase of the fight. For more on this, check out our exclusive interview with Zack Snyder in part 2 of this series.

The Future Of The Dark Knight Franchise

With Sir Robert’s casting now officially confirmed, let’s take a look at the future of the Dark Knight franchise. Because of the controversies surrounding the character and his associated branding, many people may have written him off as a failed experiment. But with Tim Burton’s original Batman set for Blu-ray release this fall, it may be time to give the character another chance. Especially since the new wave of Batman-related merchandise available for purchase may suggest that fans have actually begun to accept the character’s more modern take on mental disorder. All of this points to an opportunity for Warner Bros. to restore a little bit of the glory that once was theirs.

Batman will be back, but will he remain the popular character that he is today? Only time will tell. For now, let’s hope that Warner Bros. continues to surprise us with their creative marketing strategies and does not disappoint us like this again.